Brainwashed: Sex-Camera-Power

Nina Menkes · 2022
107min · DCP
  • Tuesday, Nov 29, 2022, 7:30pm

In this eye-opening documentary, celebrated independent filmmaker Nina Menkes explores the sexual politics of cinematic shot design. Using clips from hundreds of movies we all know and love – from METROPOLIS to VERTIGO to PHANTOM THREAD – Menkes convincingly makes the argument that shot design is gendered. BRAINWASHED: SEX-CAMERA-POWER illuminates the patriarchal narrative codes that hide within supposedly “classic” set-ups and camera angles, and demonstrates how women are frequently displayed as objects for the use, support, and pleasure of male subjects. Building on the essential work of Laura Mulvey and other feminist writers, Menkes shows how these not-so-subtle embedded messages affect and intersect with the twin epidemics of sexual abuse and assault, as well as employment discrimination against women, especially in the film industry. Featuring interviews with an all-star cast of women and non-binary industry professionals.

“Nina Menkes’ eye-opening documentary will forever change how you look at films.” Kate Erbland, Indiewire

“A documentary for any woman who ever wanted, even for a moment, to throw a grenade at the canon.” Fionnuala Halligan, Screen Daily

“Calls for a radical reinvention of how shots and film grammar are formulated. Viewers are meant to wrestle with this film, not passively consume a simple message — and they’ll leave invigorated.” Violet Lucca, Bust